It was a little over a month ago when 62 of my fellow employees gathered and were told that starting immediately our facility was going to cease operations. NOTHING prepares you for this. Fifty-two of us left that day in total shock and although we will get paid until the end of July and will receive a generous severance, the emotional toll of getting news like that is overwhelming. I worked for my company for 32 years, worked my way up from the bottom until I became a manager, which was my position for the last two years.
Five weeks later I am still in shock. I don’t necessarily fault my company for this; it’s a rough time in manufacturing. The nature of our global economy – certain markets at certain times, all make for a roller coaster ride in manufacturing.
The question is, where do I go from here? I’m 53 years old, my husband recently retired (before we knew this) from his 32 year-long construction job, and our daughter just graduated from High School and is off to college at a state school in September. We went from being comfortable and secure, to uncertain about the future in a short amount of time.
There are about 1000 questions you ask yourself everyday.
The list goes on and on…..
In our society we put so much of our identity in our jobs. Here in the US, what is one of the first things you ask someone when you meet them for the first time? What do you do? Much of my time, thoughts, and energy went into my job. At times it was stressful, but I took great pride in doing a good job, doing the things that needed to be done, and interacting with my co-workers.
They say you may go through the ‘5 stages of grief’ when you unexpectedly lose a job. I would say that is true. I am still numb and I totally feel out of control of my life. My head is swimming with conversations I keep having with myself. I have decided on taking some weeks off to care for myself and try to see what I want to do, but feel extremely guilty if I am not actively at every waking moment either trying to find another job, or a way to making money. I have a few months of cushion, but don’t want to wait till my time runs out. The confusion at times is overwhelming.
I have had such great support from friends. Many tell me this is the time to follow my dreams. Since I maintain this blog, this is my time to write and that is what I love to do as a way of communicating how I feel. Unfortunately it takes a long time to build up a following to where it can bring in some money. Many people also say that losing a job can be one of the best things to happen to you. It forces you to make a change. I really believe that at some point I will look back at this time and I will know that it is true.
I am generally an optimistic person and sometimes I’m excited and hopeful for the future and sometimes-lets just say, I fight with myself to stay optimistic. I even have a much awaited trip to Paris planned for September (that was bought and paid for well before this happened) that I am having a hard time getting excited for because I have this on my mind.
You always hear of this happening to someone else, it’s a somewhat common occurrence in our heavy manufacturing area, but when it happens to you, it is hard to see a happy ending.
Sometimes life just hands you a curve ball and it is said that God only gives you what you can handle, and if I really had to take a step back and look at my life, I would say I am pretty lucky. I have a great family, my health, and after all what better time of the year to be able to sit back and ponder my future than the middle of summer?